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A woman's born to weep and fret


Such a great word. I expect most of you are already familiar with the term, but because every time I think that someone proves me wrong, and because I think it's fantastic, I elaborate.

Mansplaining isn't just the act of explaining while male, of course; many men manage to explain things every day without in the least insulting their listeners.

Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate "facts" about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.

Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!

Think about the men you know. Do any of them display that delightful mixture of privilege and ignorance that leads to condescending, inaccurate explanations, delivered with the rock-solid conviction of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation?

That dude is a mansplainer.

Sadly, many of these dudes are our bosses or supervisors or other authority figures to whom we cannot give much crap. But if it's someone you know in a social setting, etiquette experts agree that the appropriate thing to do is to roll your eyes and say, "Oh, please, mansplain to me some more."

You are doing him a favour. Friends don't let friends foster mansplaining.

ETA: Follow-up talking about why I don't think a gender-neutral term accurately describes the privilege behind this behaviour.

No one seems to know who came up with this term - I myself saw it in several places prior to writing this post - but the most likely antecedent is this article by Rebecca Solnit.


Oct. 13th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)

I really want to link to this on my new tumblr (where I'm gonna blog about being a woman learning Minecraft), but it's a disability-friendly blog, and I'm finding the text here (gray-on-white) so hard to read that I'm reluctant to put out the link. I didn't know if I should tell you that, but then I figured you might want to know.
Oct. 13th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)
Oh, no, thank you for telling me! There's a handy cheat code for any LJ url where you can link to a black text on white version by adding ?format=light to the url.

So the easier-to-read version of this entry is http://karenhealey.livejournal.com/781085.html?format=light

I hope you find that suitable.


chocolate in the fruit bowl

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